Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told the Senate Homeland Security Committee Tuesday that more must be done to address the problems in Central America that have led to an uptick in unaccompanied children attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, because “there’s only so much border security you can accomplish” to deal with people who are motivated to leave their homes to travel to the U.S.
“We have to do more in Central America, which is the heart of the problem. Just in my 26 months in office, I have learned that as long as you have powerful underlying push factors – poverty, violence, drought, and the like – there’s only so much border security that you can accomplish – whether it’s more personnel or more walls to deal with people who are motivated to leave their homes and travel thousands of miles to come here,” Johnson said.
Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said although the numbers of all unaccompanied children apprehended while trying to cross the border in 2015 was lower than 2014, the trend in 2016 is projected to be 10 percent higher than 2014 numbers.
According to DHS statistics, there were 68,541 unaccompanied minors (UACs) apprehended along the southwest border in 2014. According to DHS, there were 39,970 unaccompanied minors apprehended in 2015.